What does it mean to become a man on the occasion of your bar mitzvah? Why do some kids seemingly have all the material advantages simply due to the circumstances into which they were born? These are some of the questions with which Mica, the 13-year-old protagonist of the documentary Havana Curveball, wrestles as he embarks on a quest to deliver baseball gear to kids in Cuba as part of his bar mitzvah service project and his gratitude to the country that welcomed his grandfather during the Holocaust. Baseballs, bats, shoes and gloves are expensive luxuries difficult to acquire in Cuba due to the island nation’s poverty, exacerbated by the US trade embargo. Part travelogue and part coming-of-age story, Havana Curveball, by Mika’s parents (Bay Area filmmakers Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider, Return of Sarah’s Daughters, SFJFF 1997), is a marvelously crafted tale that provides insights into the bizarre state of relations between the US and Cuba as well as the idealism of youth. Over a period of three years Mica struggles to make good on his promise. He finally gets to play ball with his Cuban contemporaries, visit the house where his grandfather lived as a child and experience the satisfactions and disappointments of playing benefactor to those less fortunate.
Director, Producer, Writer, Marcia Jarmel most recent project is The F Word: A Short Video about Feminism, screened at AFI Video Fest, ImageFest, and on San Francisco public television's "Living Room Festival."
Marcia was co-editor and associate producer of the Academy Award nominee For Better Or For Worse, assistant producer of the multi-award-winning Berkeley in the Sixties, and researcher/assistant producer on the Sundance-winner Freedom On My Mind. She holds a M.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication and a B.A. in Philosophy, both from the University of Colorado.
Marcia Jarmel grew up as a secular Jew. Drawn to learning about Orthodox life after attending a former feminist friend's wedding, her experience changed her sense of identity. She is the mother of a year-old son, Mica, who spent his first year in the editing room, setting the schedule and nursing during the writing of narration.,